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No police officer to face charges after missing women turned up murdered

Serial killer Nicos Metaxas

No police officer will be facing criminal proceedings over the apparent failure to act that allowed a serial killer to go undetected for about three years and killing five women and two children, according to a report.

Alpha television said the Legal Service has decided not to file cases in court against 15 officers identified by an independent investigation as having failed to do their duty. The Legal Service has not yet commented on the report.

Army officer Metaxas, 37, admitted to killing the five women and the daughters of two of them after the accidental discovery of the body of one of his victims in April 2019, in a mine shaft at Mitsero.

By June 2019, police had recovered the other victims at the mine, in a nearby lake stuffed in suitcases, in a field near a firing range, and at another lake some kilometres away.

Police were heavily criticised for allegedly mishandling the cases when some of the victims were reported missing by friends and family, and not treating the disappearances seriously.

Despite signs of foul play, investigators in some cases had brushed off the disappearances as voluntary, suggesting they probably crossed over to the north.

Police were quickly led to Metaxas after the discovery of the first body, based on information given to them previously by a friend of the missing woman.

An independent probe found that 15 constables, sergeants, and officers culpable. They faced a single charge relating to failure to perform their duties.

However, according to Alpha, the Legal Service decided to review the finding anew by three groups of legal experts who suggested it would be difficult to prove the cases in court because the evidence was weak.

The experts cited the gaps in procedures and lack of protocols relating to missing persons cases.

The officers are likely to face disciplinary probes instead, Alpha said. None of the officers have been suspended.

Metaxas was sentenced in June 2019 to five consecutive life sentences for the premeditated murder of five women and two concurrent life sentences for the murder of the two girls aged 6 and 8.

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